Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1


Guide to Editorial Apparatus

xlix Acknowledgments Acknowledgments

The list of acknowledgments in the first published volume of The Adams Papers (see Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 1:lxxv–lxxix), though long, was, for reasons stated there, not complete; and the same will have to be said of its continuation here at the beginning of the Adams Family Correspondence . It should be assumed that all of the general acknowledgments set forth there apply here as well. The Administrative Board and the Editorial Advisory Committee, the latter now usefully enlarged, have continued their benevolent functions. Time, Inc., on behalf of Life, has continued to furnish editorial funds. The Adams family has furthered the enterprise in practical ways by turning over to it additional fugitive materials and the funds of the Adams Memorial Society. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship held by the editor in chief has aided him in procuring further materials in European repositories. Harvard University Press and the Harvard University Printing Office have maintained their high standards of professional and technical competence and their resourceful and patient understanding of both the problems of the copy and the problems of the editors.

At the ceremony marking the publication in September 1961 of the first four volumes of the Belknap Press edition, Mr. Thomas J. Wilson, director of the Harvard University Press, said only a few words, but they were so telling that they must be quoted here:

I have been a publisher for thirty-one years. If I am remembered I should like to be remembered as the man who realized that The Adams Papers must have a uniform, dignified letterpress edition—that they must not be dispersed, volume by volume, among many publishers, with consequent changes of emphasis and format, and necessary loss of public impact and historical influence. I am proud to say that my colleagues in the Press and the governing boards to which I am responsible shared my feeling.

The record of earlier piecemeal and duplicative publication that has been recited in the introduction to the present volume shows how well Mr. Wilson had grasped the requirements of the situation at the very outset, or, one may say, before there was an outset. The editors can only hope that they are living up to his vision and that of his colleagues on the Administrative Board, representing the Adams family land the Massachusetts Historical Society, who breathed life into this enterprise and sent it on its way.

The Massachusetts Historical Society has continued to house both the Adams Papers and the staff working on them, and to provide them with supporting materials that could not possibly be duplicated anywhere else in the world. In addition the editors are especially grateful to those members of the Society's Publications Committee—Messrs. Malcolm Freiberg, Robert E. Moody, Stephen T. Riley, and Clifford K. Shipton—for their care in reading galley proofs and the improvements that have resulted therefrom; and to Mr. Shipton, Sibley editor of the Society, for the privilege of reading and levying on the twelfth volume of his Sibley's Harvard Graduates while it was still in galley proof.

The expert staff of the National Historical Publications Commission, under its new executive director, Dr. Oliver W. Holmes, has continued its identification and photoduplication of Adams material in the inexhaustible repositories in Washington, and has aided us, as it has numerous other large-scale documentary enterprises throughout the nation, in countless other ways. The Commission is a living demonstration of Governor William Bradford's maxim that “one small candle may light a thousand,” and it is to be hoped that growing recognition of its essential services to scholarship will win for it the larger public and private support that it is now seeking and that it so manifestly requires and deserves.

In starting this new series of The Adams Papers , the editors would be ungracious if they did not express their gratitude to the small army of reviewers who so warmly commended the earlier volumes to readers, offered new insights into John Adams' character and career, and confirmed the editors' belief that as a diarist John Adams is immortal.

The editors are also grateful to Mr. Lucius Wilmerding Jr., of Princeton, New Jersey, for pointing out to them a serious mistake in their interpretation of John Adams' memoranda on measures taken up in the first Continental Congress, September–October 1774 (Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 2:145–146). The measures listed were by no means wholly Adams' own, but embodied proposals by Joseph Galloway, James Duane, and perhaps others. The editors plan to furnish a detailed correction of their notes on these memoranda at the earliest opportunity.

In these volumes, as in the earlier ones, the courtesy of institutional and private owners of original manuscripts and illustrative materials that we have made use of is indicated in the respective places liwhere those manuscripts and other materials are printed or described. Our collective thanks must be tendered to them here in this brief and inadequate manner.

In editing the family letters we have drawn on the resources of a great many institutions, both nearby and at a distance. They would make so formidable a list that they cannot be named here. But a special word must be said about our almost daily use of the Boston Athenaeum. That unique institution, from one point of view a relic and type of an age that has passed but, as we see it, an indispensable servant of modern scholarship, has not only substantial holdings of books written and owned by the Adamses but an almost uncanny number of the books and pamphlets, in whatever languages, the Adamses allude to in their letters and diaries. This is perhaps not surprising when one reflects that the Athenaeum is the product of the same culture that produced the Adamses themselves and that members of the family have held shares, have read, and have written in the Athenaeum from its founding to the present day. At one time the private library of John Quincy Adams actually constituted a substantial part of the Athenaeum's holdings, and after J. Q. Adams' death Charles Francis presented his father's pamphlet collection to that institution, amounting to between six and seven thousand pieces. (C. F. Adams later availed himself of a shareholder's privilege in grumbling that the library did not stay open late enough for him to get his work done there.) But what is more than all this, thanks to its vigilant and courteous staff, both the books and the information one seeks at the Athenaeum are marvelously and promptly accessible to the seeker. It has, in consequence, been a right hand to the Adams enterprise, and we take this opportunity to salute its present director, Mr. Walter Muir Whitehill, and his staff, especially Mrs. Wendell D. Garrett, Miss Margaret Hackett, and Mr. David M. K. McKibbin, together with all their predecessors, who built, if not better than they knew, certainly better than others knew.

Quite as indispensable to us have been the holdings and services of the Rare Book Room of the Boston Public Library under its new keeper, Mr. John Alden, who has in his care, among other treasures, the 3,000 or so surviving volumes of John Adams' noble library.

Other specialists whose knowledge and help in particular fields or on particular problems have facilitated the editing of the volumes now published include the following:

On the local history and antiquities of Boston and its South Shore where Adamses lived from the 1630's to the 1920's: Mr. Abbott L. liiCummings, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities; Mr. William C. Edwards, City Historian of Quincy; Mrs. Frank E. Harris, National Park Service; Mr. H. Hobart Holly, Quincy Historical Society; Mr. Walter Muir Whitehill, Boston Athenaeum.

On Philadelphia antiquities and biography and on Pennsylvania local history generally: Mr. Whitfield J. Bell Jr., American Philosophical Society; Miss Lois V. Given, Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Bishop Kenneth G. Hamilton, Archives of the Moravian Church, Bethlehem; Mrs. F. Spencer Roach, Philadelphia; Mr. Willman Spawn, American Philosophical Society; Mr. Nicholas B. Wainwright, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

On the topography of the Chesapeake Bay region, Professor John A. Munroe, University of Delaware.

On the pamphlet literature of the American Revolution: Mr. Thomas R. Adams, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University.

On English literature of the 18th century: Professor John M. Bullitt, Harvard University.

On 18th-century milling: Mr. Walter J. Heacock, The Hagley Museum, Greenville, Delaware; Mr. Peter C. Welsh, Smithsonian Institution.

On Harvard graduates not yet embraced in Mr. Shipton's magisterial Sibley's Harvard Graduates: Mr. Kimball C. Elkins, Harvard University Archives.

On matters relating to the Library of Congress manuscript collections: Mrs. Dorothy S. Eaton, Mr. C. Carroll Hollis, Mr. David C. Mearns, all of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

On matters relating to illustrations: Mr. E. Harold Hugo, Meriden Gravure Company, Meriden, Connecticut.

On the relationship of the Smiths of Charlestown and Weymouth, Massachusetts, and the Smiths of Charleston, South Carolina, and Cape Fear, North Carolina—the most vexatious genealogical problem the editors have yet encountered: Mr. H. G. Jones, Archivist of North Carolina; Mr. Donald Ray Lennon, East Carolina College, North Carolina; Mrs. Ida B. Kellam, Wilmington, North Carolina.

On a long-lost and now recovered manuscript of John Adams' Thoughts on Government (1776): Mr. H. G. Jones again; Dr. Carolyn A. Wallace, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.

Other friends of the enterprise and of the editors have kindly read and criticized, to its advantage, the introduction to the Adams Family Correspondence , namely Professor Julian P. Boyd, editor of The liii Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Princeton University, to whom all historical editors still go to school; Mrs. Elizabeth E. Butterfield; Mr. Andrew Oliver; and Mrs. Thomas J. Wilson.

The staff that has prepared, edited, and seen through the press these first two volumes of Adams Family Correspondence has been small, devoted, and happily unvarying. Mr. Garrett, assistant editor from May 1960, in addition to preparing preliminary text copy and materials for the annotation, has been primarily responsible for the illustrations and the index. His new title of associate editor accurately reflects his larger role in the enterprise. In the fall of 1961, just as the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams was about to be published, Miss Marjorie E. Sprague joined the staff as secretary. In the year and a half since, she has taken on increasingly varied and responsible tasks, including the heaviest share of proofreading, and has fully earned her place on the titlepages of these volumes. For some weeks during the summer of 1962 Miss Gay Little served the Adams Papers as an editorial assistant.